Web Series Wednesday: Really Get to Know Your Characters
This week’s Web Series Wednesday selections focuses on strong characters. The following series take extra pains to introduce their protagonists in ways that ensure you know them inside and out as the true action begins to unfold. You may love them or hate them, but chances are they’ll elicit strong feelings either way.
If you know of some other strong internet personalities, send their shows our way at [email protected].
This series tackles real racial issues alongside real roommate issues. Overall, the main characters, three New Zealand-native Asian women who live together in Flat 3 (hence the series’ name) are tackling the uncertainty of young adulthood. Each of the first three episodes showcases one of the main character’s back stories, setting you up to fall in love, or at least sympathize, with them individually while slowly building up to them acting as a group. “Flat3” comes complete with a heartwarming eating-lunch-in-the-bathroom scene, epitomizing the show’s brand of touching comedy.
This series has been around on Vimeo for about three years now but it’s still worth sharing. It’s depressing and beautiful at the same time—each frame looks like a lot of thought was put into the composition, and each vignette declines to sugarcoat difficult scenarios. “Downsized,” timed with the recession, is thoughtful and patient enough to let characters reveal their connections to one another over the course of multiple episodes, drawing you in so that you can see their joint, complex stories unfold.
Providing viewers with a…certainly different take on vlogging, “Social Medium” (note the pun) follows an aspiring internet personality who keeps on getting messages from the beyond…when all she wants to do is vlog! The acting is a bit stilted, but perhaps it’s expertly mimicking the style of people speaking to a camera before they’ve gotten used to the act. Executive produced by Tara Jayn, the series has only released four episodes so far on Try Film Productions’ YouTube channel, but there’s been adequate buildup for one to wonder when a major ghostly interaction will actually take place and force main character Beatrix to focus on her psychic abilities…which begins to happen in episode four, but begs a deeper look.
This new Machinima Prime series offers a totally novel, not too mention smart, premise. “Dr. 1Up” exclusively treats video game characters, who, based on their virtual lives, don’t make the healthiest lifestyle choices. The first episode diagnoses Solid Snake with malignant tumors (most likely due to years of non-stop smoking and radiation exposure), giving the gaming persona a fitting human counterpart. Further episodes have yet to appear online, but they’ll feature the likes of “Tomb Raider”’s Lara Croft, “Mortal Kombat”’s Raiden, and “Halo”’s Master Chief.
This unreal web series launched back in 2012, but it’s still going strong, as episode 35 came out in June of this year. “Gayle” follows Gayle, the superhero version of an upper crust, suburban housewife who tackles problems like getting her groceries inside and bringing her own food to movies with ferociousness that defies average human capabilities and is likely to provoke copious amounts of laughter. The intro music perfectly fits the titular character’s go-hard-or-go-home (even though she’s often at home) attitude, and her children are named after radio personalities Ira Glass and Terry Gross (including the last names, which precede their actual last name, Waters-Waters—because Gayle and her husband shared the same last name before marriage and she decided to hyphenate it anyway).